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By the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves, as recounted by St. John, Christ prepared the minds of the multitude for the sublime doctrine of the Holy Eucharist. His almighty power which enabled Him to feed five thousand persons with five barley loaves and two fishes, made it also possible for Him to feed all generations for all future ages with His own body and blood. His discourse on this occasion was strengthened and illustrated by the miracle which preceded it, and was thus brought down to the understanding of the multitude. We have here an excellent example of apperception in the teaching of Christ, but we shall leave a more detailed consideration of this discourse for a subsequent chapter. On another occasion, in order to teach the Jews that God sees and rewards confidence and love rather than outward observances, the Saviour wrought the cure of the centurion's servant, thus showing the Jews that even heathens who manifest a loving trust in God are more worthy of favors than those Jews whose only ambition is to live up to the letter of the law. He said to them: "Many shall come from the east and the west and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven: but the children of the kingdom shall be cast out into the exterior darkness."127 The Master teaches confidence and perseverance in prayer by His cure of the daughter of the woman of Canaan, who, despite the seeming repulses of the Saviour, continued to implore His assistance until the desired favor was granted.128 Shortly before His sacred Passion Christ raised Lazarus to life and made use of this miracle to teach the consoling doctrine that those who believe in Him shall possess life everlasting. "I am the resurrection and the life; he that believeth in me, although he be dead, shall live; and every one that liveth and believeth in me shall not die for ever. 129 After the miraculous draught of fishes granted to the first disciples, the Saviour thereby manifested to them their mission, pointed out that as they had in this instance caught a multitude of fishes, so they would later catch men,-"from henceforth thou shalt catch men.


In all of these instances, the Master uses the miracle as

127 St. Matthew, VIII, 11-12.

128 St. Matthew, XV, 22-28. 129 St. John, XI, 25-26.

something concrete for the purpose of imparting to their minds the knowledge of an abstract truth, thus exemplifying a most important principle of apperception. The knowledge reaches the mind through the sense of sight as well as of hearing, and is thereby rendered more impressive. This method "from the concrete to the abstract" is seen in many other of the oral teachings of the Master, when there is no miracle wrought. For example, instead of telling His Apostles that they should strive to acquire humility and simplicity, He placed a little child in their midst and said: "Amen, I say to you, unless you be converted, and become as little children, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven." Instead of trying to impress upon them by a simple statement the fact that God takes care of all who trust in Him, the Master taught the lesson of God's providence by saying: "Behold the birds of the air, for they neither sow, nor do they reap, nor gather into barns; and your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are not you of much more value than they?" "Consider the

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lilies of the field, how they grow; they labour not, neither do they spin. But I say to you that not even Solomon in all his glory was arrayed as one of these."'12 Again instead of reminding them that He is solicitous for those whom His Father has committed to His care, He said: "I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd giveth his life for his sheep. . I know mine and mine know me. that are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice, and there shall be one fold and one shepherd."133 Hundreds of these examples might be cited, showing that the Master ordinarily made use of a concrete example in order to teach an abstract truth. This matter will receive more detailed consideration in the next chapter, where we shall examine more carefully the oral teaching of Christ, and endeavor to show that all of the principles of apperception are therein most carefully and abundantly illustrated.

131 St. Matthew, XVIII, 3.

132 St. Matthew, VI, 26-29.

133 St. John, X, 11-16.




Eloquence is a quality ordinarily ascribed to oral discourse. A man is considered eloquent in proportion to the ability which he possesses to express his thoughts, feelings, or emotions in a forceful and fluent manner so as to impress and convince his audience. Theoretically we agree with this commonly accepted definition, but shall we limit eloquence to the spoken word? Have we not witnessed actions that were far more eloquent than words, that impressed us in a manner far beyond any oral discourse, that taught us lessons whose value infinitely surpassed those which might be formulated by the richest vocabulary combined with the most forceful power of speech which it is possible for man to possess? Of such infinite value were the lessons taught by our Divine Master by means of His life and His miracles, as described in the foregoing chapter. Not satisfied, however, with imparting His sublime teaching by His example, He also made use of oral discourse, and herein has given to all ages the most exalted model of the Christian teacher.

We have seen that apperception entered largely into the teaching of Christ as given by His life and His miracles, and vastly increased its effectiveness. That it also stands out as a prominent feature of His oral discourse, we shall attempt to prove in the following pages of this dissertation. Let us recall briefly the main elements in the process of apperception which must guide the teacher in his work, and then show how the teaching of Christ is in every instance established on this basis. According to Herbart, the teacher must prepare the mind of the pupil for the new idea to be conveyed, by recalling to the foreground of the child's mind the knowledge on this subject or a related subject which the child already possesses. Second, the new matter presented must be related to the ideas already in the mind. and must be explained in the light of these older ideas. It must also treat of that which lies nearest to the experience of the one taught. Third, the new matter must be presented bit by bit, in the proper order and with the

greatest clearness, the amount to be given being measured by the teacher in accordance with the capacity of the pupils.

Turning now to the pages of the Gospels, we shall find these fundamental notions of the process of apperception adequately illustrated in the teaching of Christ. Nearly every utterance that fell from His sacred lips exemplified some one or all of the principles of apperception, consequently it will be impossible in our present treatise to exhaust the material contained in the Gospels. Ample consideration will be given to the more important passages, while others will necessarily have to be passed over with a mere allusion to their pedagogical value.

The first public discourse of any length pronounced by the Great Teacher, as recorded in the Gospel, is the Sermon on the Mount.134 The minds of His hearers had been previously prepared for this beginning of His preaching by a long series of miracles, which had established the authority of the Teacher and gained the confidence of all who witnessed or heard of these wonderful deeds. In this remarkable utterance Christ began with a pronouncement of the Beatitudes, in which we find a further preparation of the minds of His hearers for the important truths which are to follow. He first proclaimed to them in these Beatitudes the spirit with which they should be animated if they wish to become His followers. All that follows in this Sermon is but an explanation or further development of the fundamental ideas set forth in these eight verses. It may even be said that the whole Christian code is built upon these eight principles as a foundation, hence by the pronouncement of these Beatitudes the minds of those who listened to our Saviour were prepared for all of His subsequent teaching. It is probable, nevertheless, that each of these Beatitudes as uttered, was immediately followed by some words of explanation which have not been recorded by the Evangelists, for the Gospels are not exhaustive treatises comprising all of the words and actions of our Saviour. As Father Coleridge says, "it is not forbidden us to suppose that He added explanations and developments of the doctrines which are summed up in the sentences of His Sermon, which developments have been omitted. ''135

'There is evident also in the order of the eight Beatitudes

134 St. Matthew, V, VI, VII. St. Luke, VI, 20-49.

135 Coleridge, The Public Life of Our Lord, Vol II, p. 128. London, 1892.

as uttered by Christ the relation of one to the other and the proper sequence as required by Herbart in his doctrine of apperception. Poverty of spirit is considered by divines to be the foundation of the spiritual life, for only those whose hearts are detached from the goods of this world can hope to attain the heights of Christian perfection. "The law of poverty of spirit," says Maturin, "is the keynote of the spiritual life. It is the first step that the soul must take if it would enter upon the path that leads to the blessings promised by our Lord."136 "Blessed are the meek" naturally follows the first Beatitude, for, as Saint Ambrose says, "When I have learned contentment in poverty, the next lesson is to govern my heart and temper. "137 The same saint remarks in reference to the third Beatitude, "When you have done thus much, attained both poverty and meekness, remember that you are a sinner, mourn your sins",138 hence, "Blessed are they that mourn." He continues in regard to the fourth Beatitude, "As soon as I have wept for my sins, I begin to hunger and thirst after righteousness."'139 Thus step by step the Christian striving to reach the heights of sanctity, proceeds in his ascent, and at the completion of each conquest is pronounced by the Master blessed.

There is observed the same relation and gradation in the rewards promised by the Divine Teacher to those who safely mount this ladder of perfection. According to St. Thomas the rewards are arranged in ascending order: "It is more to possess the land of the heavenly kingdom than simply to have it; since we have many things without possessing them firmly and peacefully. Again, it is more to be comforted in the kingdom than to have and possess it, for there are many things the possession of which is accompanied by sorrow. Again, it is more to have one's fill than simply to be comforted, because fulness implies abundance of comfort. And mercy surpasses satiety, for thereby man receives more than he merited or was able to desire. And yet more is it to see God, even as he is a greater man at court who not only dines, but also sees the king's countenance. Lastly, the highest place in the royal palace belongs to the king's son.''140

136 Maturin, Laws of the Spiritual Life. p. 16. London, 1908.

137 Ambrose, Luc. V, 20. St. Thomas Aquinas, Catena Aurea, Vol. I, p. 148. 138 Ibid., p. 150.

139 Ibid., p. 151.

140 St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica, Pt. II, 1st Part, Art. LXIX, Reply

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